We did it! We conquered the great outdoors. We survived the big woods back woods of Missouri. We lived off the land. We were pioneers – FTW!
Actually, if we want to get technical, we lived off of Walmart brand boxed foods and our minivan served as our trusty wagon, faithfully toting our belongings into the very accomodating land of shaded camp grounds. We are quite the mountaineers.
Aside from the obvious fact that we weren’t totally roughing, we did indeed sleep in the great outdoors, enduring the elements, cooking over a fire and exploring the natural wonders of the land around us. And we had a blast!
First things first – we pitched the tent. This was Landon’s first time to sleep in a tent. Sloan and Tia slept outside several times last year in the back yard. Landon was so excited to be included in this family excursion that he was literally bouncing off the walls before we left. He wouldn’t even nap.
Sloan was a huge help. He’s quite the outdoorsmen.
After the tent was up, we let the kids roll around for a bit before setting up the beds. Sloan and Tia slept on the hard ground because they’re bones were made for that sort of adventure. Lee and I slept on an air mattress as did Landon. Because I know better than to think I would survive sleeping on the hard earth.
We were joined by four other families on our weekend trip. Since we were the first to arrive we decided to explore a bit. We hiked up a nearby trail. The hike didn’t last long because my daughter was apparently created with the smallest bladder known to womankind and she’s yet to learn the art of squatting the the trees. So we quickly found ourselves heading back down the path to the shower house where we would make frequent runs throughout the weekend. Thank God it was fairly clean.
Before leaving on our trip, I worried most about the sleeping arangements. Landon still sleeps in a crib so I was concerned about how he would do in the tent. I didn’t need to worry. He was so exhausted that he passed out the second his head hit the pillow both nights, as did the other two.
Lee and I on the other hand…we struggled. We didn’t plan on it being quite so cold in July. The weather could not have been more perfect for our weekend trip, but with a low Friday night of 60 degrees, Lee and I nearly froze under our tiny little blanket. Couple that with a rowdy group of college kids next door and the first night was rough. In fact, I made a hasty retreat to the minivan in the hopes of finding a little warmth.
Thank God for coffee and caffinated tea.
And a husband who is chipper despite a long, cold night of little sleep.
And a minivan that provided a safe haven for naps the next day when the kids couldn’t fall asleep in the tent. Not only are minivans hot, but they are extremely functional. Like a modern day covered wagon, they are.
We explored a local cave where our tour guide taught us all about dolomite and calcite and a bunch of other “mites.” The quote of the weekend came when the guide was explaining the drastic decline in grey bats due to a rather unfortunate virus. “We have only 35 bats who call this cave home,” she said to our group. And bursting through the silence was Sloan who piped up, “Hey! My dad’s 35!” Isn’t it nice to know that kids will always be there to keep you humble?
Saturday night, the grown ups snuck away for a little zip line excursion. Zooming off a platform 90 feet in the air at sunset and zipping over 1200 feet is a good time. Just sayin’…
And Sunday we all gathered together for a feast fit for kings.
We ate bacon (and lots of it), hash browns, eggs, donuts and so much more…
Because we forgot towels and because it was a little too involved for our taste, we did not bathe or shower all weekend. Which means we brought home dirty, dirty children. My bath tub has the largest, nastiest ring of dirt around it now. The shower upon returning home was perhaps the most glorious moment of all my life. I’ve never felt more clean.
In all, the weekend was a smashing success. The kids did amazing – better than I could have imagined. We were surrounded by sweet friends. We laughed a lot, slept a little and made memories that will last for a lifetime.
Now, off to tackle the last three loads of approximately 452 loads of laundry that we brought home…